Thursday, November 18, 2010

Oh, gag me

Not a very tony post title, I know, but it was my first reaction when I read this letter in the New York Times (via TigerHawk):

Perhaps President Obama could benefit from becoming familiar with the recommendations for raising children and adolescents successfully. Neither authoritarian nor democratic and permissive styles of parenting are optimal ways to raise children. Rather, a third way, authoritative parenting — in which the perspective of the child is understood but the parents’ opinions and choices prevail — has been to shown to lead to successful developmental outcomes and healthy children.

Perhaps it is time for the president to learn how to be the authoritative leader that this country craves and spare the American people the chaos that so often results from democratic, permissive parenting, which may well have led to the loss of faith in his leadership that Paul Krugman laments.

I am not a child and neither are any of my fellow voters. I don’t want my President to be a parent. And I’m awfully attached to democratic parenting governance - perhaps understandable since I live in a democracy.

The funny thing (as opposed to the queasy thing) about this letter is that the “authoritative parenting” style lauded by the writer is pretty much what we’ve gotten from Obama: the perspective of the child [voter] is understood (okay, not really but Obama thinks he understands it - which I suspect is often the case with parents and children as well) but the parents’ [President’s and Congressional Democrats’] opinions and choices prevail.*

Such an authoritative style may lead to “successful developmental outcomes and healthy children” in the context of a family. In the context of a functioning democracy, however, it leads to electoral disaster.


* Yes, the Democrats’ opinions and choices did prevail. Those on the Left who are disappointed with the legislation churned out over the last 22 months can scream about the Republicans all they want but the simple fact is that from January 20, 2009, until February 4, 2010, the Democrats controlled the House of Representatives, the Senate (with a filibuster-proof majority), and the Presidency. That gave them almost 13 months in which they could have passed whatever legislation they wanted. If those on the Left want to argue that Obama should have been more iron-fisted in dealing with Congressional Democrats then we’ll need a letter explaining what happens to the family when Daddy and Mommy’s opinions and choices don’t match up.

1 comment:

Lynne said...

Personally, I like "Oh, gag me" as a title.

Call me crass.